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Public Statements

Protect Life Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. HIRONO. Madam Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 358, a bill restricting women's access to reproductive health services.

It's odd to me that we are choosing to take up this bill now, when just last week, we saw that our country only created 103,000 jobs.

This is not what people in Hawaii or our nation want us working on.

Debating divisive social issues isn't going to create one single job.

Instead, this bill puts a fundamental freedom--our right to choose--under direct attack.

Those supporting this bill say it's necessary to prevent federal funding for abortion. They're wrong.

Longstanding federal policy prohibits federal funding of abortion, a provision preserved in The Affordable Care Act. President Obama even issued an executive order reaffirming this prohibition in March 2010.

So what's the real reason behind this bill?

The real reason is to make abortion as unavailable as possible because making abortion illegal is still not possible under Roe v. Wade. This is yet another bill taking a shot at restricting women's access to reproductive health services.

It starts with restricting how women purchase private health insurance with their own money.

The practical result of this bill would be to restrict, for the first time, how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars in purchasing health insurance.

It says that women who receive a federal subsidy to make coverage affordable in the health insurance exchanges would be unable to purchase a comprehensive health plan.

These women could not even use their own money to pay for the portion of the plan providing abortion coverage. These aren't federal dollars going to purchase that coverage--these are the women's own dollars.

So what happens? It's the ripple effect.

Since many women would be prevented from purchasing insurance with abortion coverage in the exchange, the insurers will probably stop offering it.

Then, no woman will be able to buy health insurance in the exchange with abortion coverage.

And their access to a legal medical procedure just got a lot smaller.

Let's be clear: The goal of this bill is not to maintain the status quo.

Rather, its true goal is to make abortion as unavailable as possible.

For these reasons, it should be rejected.

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